What should you expect in your first class, and what do you need to know before stepping into
a yoga studio?
We’ve all been there, our first yoga class. Are you nervous? Don’t be. Even the most confident of us were. First things first, I would like to bring light to an idea that ‘ve heard so many times about yoga. You don’t « need to be flexible » to practice yoga ! Who says otherwise??
The only thing you need to do is just show up.
So congratulations on making it this far, you should be proud of yourself for stepping outside of your comfort zone.
What to Wear
You don’t need to be outfitted in the latest, high-end yoga brands to fit in. When it comes to your threads, just make sure they’re comfortable, light, and breathable. This is especially important if your class is in a heated studio. Also remember, yoga is practiced in bare feet – make sure you take your socks off in the lobby!
What to Bring
A mat is really the only essential item you’ll need. As you develop your practice, your mat becomes a sort-of extension of yourself. But if you don’t want to invest in a mat right away, most of the yoga studios offer mats and props free to use.Depending on the type of yoga class you take, blocks, straps, blankets, or bolsters may also be used and provided by the teacher.
Before the practice
Staying hydrated is the most important take away here. A light snack and glass of water will prevent you from feeling faint, and also help your body keep up with the physical demands of your practice. And please, stay away from heavy carbs ! Some teachers suggest that you eat not less than two hours before the session. However, with time you will find that the sessions are much more enjoyable and that your concentration is much better when you come with an empty stomach. Digestion accelerate the flow of thoughts and it becomes harder to focus during the practice. This is one of the reasons why the best time to practice yoga is in the morning before breakfast.
No, really. Get to class early. Yoga is all about escaping the chaos and tuning out the hustle and bustle of everyday life, and instructors take this very seriously. The instructor is always the final person to enter the studio, so simply put, don’t expect to sneak into a class late. It won’t happen. Arriving early also affords you prime real estate when selecting your mat space. 15 minutes should do the trick.
Usually, beginners set up their mats towards the back of the room. But this isn’t mandatory, so don’t let it deter you from going front and center! Plus, if you’re a beginner, you need to be close enough to the teacher in order to get the best instructions and body alignment.
What if I Can’t Do a Pose?
Then don’t. Yoga is a personal journey, and the studio is a judgment-free zone. That’s the cool thing about it. If you don’t feel comfortable in a pose, simply hang out in child’s pose or downward dog. When you’re ready to continue, jump back in with the rest of the class.
If you get stuck, just take a peak around the room and copy the poses you see others doing.
Savasana, Namaste and other Yogi Lingo
You’ll likely hear words throughout your practice that you won’t necessarily understand. Don’t worry though, you don’t need to take a Rosetta Stone course to translate them.Savasana is how you begin and end your practice – laying on your back on your mat with your eyes closed. Namaste translates loosely to, “the light within me bows to the light within you.” It’s said aloud collectively at the end of practice, while sitting cross-legged with your palms pressed together at your chest.
Talking in the studio is a major faux pas. There is also a strict no cellphone policy. So no, you won’t be able to snap a pic for Instagram. What you will leave with though, is clarity and a renewed sense of stillness.
I think you’ll find yoga to be a highly spiritual personal journey, and even a bit of an addiction.
Welcome to your first day of class.